By SUPERhys 2 Comments
The Last of Us, which is an upcoming third-person survival action-adventure video game from acclaimed developer Naughty Dog, has been very high on my gaming radar ever since its unveiling at the 2011 Spike Video Game awards. Setting aside the fact that Naughty Dog has created two of my favourite franchises of all time, the original teaser for this game gripped me and had me begging for more. The gameplay trailer showcased at E3 did not disappoint.
The trailer bounds off to an epic start whereby protagonist Joel and his young companion Ellie have presummably just escaped from some form of malicous pursuer. What is strikingly obvious is that the production values; the quality voice acting, the fluidity of the animation and the sheer audacity of the game are on par with what we've come to expect from Naughty Dog. When Ellie and Joel first venture out into the open it is clear that the graphical fidelity of the game is spectacular. The shocking attention to detail (such as flocks of birds ravaging the sky), the way the desolate city is beautifully overgrown with fauna, folliage and floodage and the believable banter between the characters all intertwine to fuse a cocktail of technical and visual marvel.
The trailer continues in this fashion until more pursuers are spotted. This further showcases the context specific chitter-chatter among the characters and changes to their animation and posture, adding elements of immersion and empathy to the game. What follows is a predator-esque style of gameplay whereby Joel attempts to stealithily pick off his pursuers. However, if you were expecting the swift, simple and clean assassinations which are affiliated with the likes of Uncharted, well, you've come to the wrong place! The assassination melee kills in this game invoke a feeling of insecutity and a sense of struggle. The kills are extremely grizzly and brutal, showcasing that Naughty Dog have left behind their more recreational Crash Bandicoot era and are flaunting their darker side. Heads are gruesomely smashed against furniture fittings with bloody by-products, faces are spliced with the rear end of a shotgun and necks are choked with ambient and sickening last breaths.
The game also portrays strong elements of a sense of urgency and survival. Joel is not a meat shield who just takes bullets like other contenders in the genre, Joel stumbles, stutters and falls out of cover if he is hit and even receives shouts of worry from his partner. Ellie also proves to be an ample side kick, saving Joel when he depletes his ammo by launching a brick at the head on an unsuspecting enemy.
My only minor (and I mean MINOR) complaint with what I saw involves the gunplay. I don't know if it's just me, but the hit detection seemed a little off and too delayed. Also, I hope that the finished game isn't too scripted in its execution, giving the player leeway in how to tackle each situation. I'm getting more and more sick of the Call of Duty archtype each year and would like some freedom in how I play my games, much in the vain of Assassin's Creed and the Batman: Arkham games. However this particular concern has been somewhat laid to rest if this article is to believed.
In retrospect, I am extremely impressed with what I've seen from this interesting new IP. The direction the game is going with its visual style, along with the gritty gameplay and post-apocalytic feelings of urgency and companionship have once again left me lusting for more details and media on the game. I cannot wait to see how this game pans out and am strongly anticipating its release!